Brian Gay won the 2009 Verizon Heritage by a tournament-record 10 strokes. (Getty Images)
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Fresh off a week of short rough and huge greens at Augusta National, the PGA Tour heads to Hilton Head Island and Harbour Town Golf Links. In addition to its status as one of the favorite stops for players on the PGA Tour, Harbour Town at Sea Pines Resort is the foremost location for golf on Hilton Head Island.
Hilton Head Island is a vacationer's paradise year round, but even more enchanting in the spring when its azaleas are in bloom, pleasing weather is the norm and the island is brimming with PGA Tour buzz. Golf legends, rising stars, robust competition, autograph opportunities, picturesque views, fabulous refreshments, friendly crowds, myriad activities and tons of fun for a great cause – for what else could you ask? You need only attend Hilton Head Island's historic tournament once to concur that there are at least a dozen reasons to put the Verizon Heritage at the top of your trip list.
Since Arnold Palmer claimed the tournament's first trophy in 1969, the Verizon Heritage has experienced a few name changes, but it has consistently drawn some of the most prominent names in golf. Jack Nicklaus, Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, Nick Price, Davis Love III, the late Payne Stewart and the colorful Boo Weekley are past winners of the event.
Tournament week traditionally kicks off with opening ceremonies that celebrate golf's Scottish heritage. The tournament is famous for its kilted bagpipers and firing of a cannon into the Calibogue Sound while the defending champion simultaneously fires a tee shot using a hickory driver and feathery-style ball. And, of course, the tournament champion is awarded an attractive tartan jacket to accompany his Verizon Heritage winnings.
Many players head to the Verizon Heritage following the Masters. However, while the Verizon Heritage offers healthy competition, it boasts a less intense vibe amidst Hilton Head Island's idyllic atmosphere and is viewed by many golfers as an opportune time to vacation with their families.
Harbour Town Golf Links: One of the world's premier golf clubs
Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the Verizon Heritage, has long been hailed as one of the world's premier clubs. In addition to superb course conditions and its extraordinary, park-like setting, the well-appointed clubhouse and friendly and professional staff exude unrivaled hospitality. During tournament week, the Calibogue Sound and adjacent Harbour Town yacht basin, site of the iconic candy-cane striped Harbour Town lighthouse, are rippling with an impressive array of watercraft.
The tournament is held within Sea Pines Resort, which hosts shuttle service and abounds with bike paths, nature trails and wildlife. The resort also offers beach access, shops, dining, entertainment, recreation and accommodations. Whether you seek an all-inclusive resort or oceanfront home, experienced and reputable companies such as Sea Pines Resort, Resort Quest Hilton Head Island, Hilton Head Rentals & Golf and the Crowne Plaza Hilton Head Island Beach Resort, can assist you in securing quality accommodations Island-wide that are best suited to your needs.
Access the island via Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) or Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), about 45 minutes away. Hilton Head Island's proximity to several major cities, such as Jacksonville, Fla. and Atlanta, also makes it a popular drive-to destination.
Verizon Heritage: 'Get Your Plaid On' for eco-friendly fun, philanthropy
The Verizon Heritage annually attracts thousands because, quite simply, whether you are a golf enthusiast or not, it emphasizes fun for all ages! Some come for the thrill of the game and autograph opportunities, while others attend for the camaraderie and fashionable socializing. The tournament's schedule of events includes opportunities for amateurs to play with the pros, putting contests, Coca-Cola Youth Day and much more.
The Heritage Classic Foundation has donated millions to charitable organizations over the years, and has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships. You can have fun while also supporting philanthropic efforts.
The Verizon Heritage has also partnered with Palmetto Electric regarding a commitment to green practices and recently introduced a new spokesperson, Sir William 'Willie' Innes, whose role will be to promote community pride in the tourney and support for a new 'Get Your Plaid On' marketing campaign. Said Tournament Director Steve Wilmot, 'Willie has his plaid on, and it is time to get your plaid on.'
A variety of Verizon Heritage ticket packages are available. 'Get Your Plaid On' and secure your piece of the fun, before this popular event sells out! Visit verizonheritage.com or call (800) 234-1107. Verizon Heritage tickets are also available through the Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce: www.hiltonheadisland.org or (800) 523-3373.